After winning an Emmy for I May Destroy You, Michaela Coel dedicated her win to all survivors of sexual assault. The 33-year-old actress and writer won the award for Outstanding Writing for a Television Limited Anthology Series or Movie at the 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards which took place last night, September 19.
The hit BBC series was not only written and created by Coel, but also starred her as the leading character Arabella Essiedu. Coel also co-directed the series.
The series dealt powerfully with questions surrounding sexual consent in a modern world, and after Coel won her first award, she dedicated it to all survivors of sexual assault, including herself, in a powerful speech.
Other nominees up for the award were writers such as Brad Ingelsby for Mare of Easttown, Chuck Hayward and Peter Cameron for WandaVision, Jac Schaeffer for WandaVision, Laura Donney for WandaVision, and Scott Frank for The Queen’s Gambit.
Coel’s own experiences of sexual assault acted as a basis for her writing I May Destroy You. In her acceptance speech, she directed her words at all writers: ‘Write the tale that scares you, that makes you feel uncertain, that isn’t comfortable. I dare you.’
In a world that entices us to browse through the lives of others to help us better determine how we feel about ourselves, and to in turn feel the need to be constantly visible, for visibility these days seems to somehow equate to success — do not be afraid to disappear from it, from us, for a while, and see what comes to you in the silence.
Coel then thanked certain people for contributing to the ‘best two years’ of her life. She concluded her compelling speech by dedicating her award to ‘every single survivor of sexual assault’.
Coel, as a first-time Emmy nominee, was also nominated for four other awards, including Outstanding Lead Actress for Limited or Anthology Series or Movie, Outstanding Limited or Anthology Series or Movie and Outstanding Directing for a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie.
The star told E!Online how ‘overwhelmed with gratitude’ she was to be awarded the Emmy. ‘If I think about it too much, I get emotional. It means a lot to be heard and listened to so attentively. I’m very grateful,’ she said.
In winning the award, Coel also made history as the first ever Black woman to win the Emmy for writing a limited series.
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, contact the Rape Crisis England and Wales helpline on 0808 802 9999 between 12pm–2.30pm and 7pm– 9.30pm every day. Alternatively, you can contact Victim Support free on 08 08 16 89 111 available 24/7, every day of the year, including Christmas